It's going to be a long night tonight. It is the end of the Lunar celebration for Chinese New Year and the fireworks started at sundown and will continue all night long until the sun rises. These aren't just your little firecrackers you buy for the 4th of July they are the big sky filling booming loud fireworks. They are literally being lit off right behind our house. With the tall buildings around the noise echos off them and it makes it double, triple loud. We all ran up to our roof earlier tonight to see them but now it's 11:00 at night and I'm ready to sleep but can't. Combine that with all the people partying and music playing down in Sea World Plaza, the car alarms going off because of the fireworks and it is going to be a really long night.
The Chinese legend is that the fireworks scare the monsters away. Legend is that a monster used to come down every year during the New Year to a village at night and would kill people. They created fireworks to scare the monster away and light them off all night long during this time. I would think that it would be creating monsters because of all the people not getting any sleep. I'll need to make sure to bring ear plugs back with us next year.
I used to love watching fireworks but not all night long right over our house.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We went to a local touring agency and booked a guided jeep trip to the red and white sand dunes for $144 for 20 people for 4 hours. They picked us up at the hotel at 8 am and went to a local fishing village.
Monday, February 15, 2010
We all loaded our bus to go visit Cu Chi Tunnels this morning. The streets are packed with scooters. This is their main form of transportation here. Families would pile onto their little scooter and go just as we would in a car. Our guide said that it isn't as busy right now because most of the people have left the city for the Lunar New Year which is tonight. I can't imagine it being any more crowded on the streets.
The bus ride to the Cu Chi tunnels was about an hour so we were able to see some interesting things along the way. The picture above is a cemetery. The Vietnamese people build little houses over the burial site. They believe that when you die you go onto live somewhere else so they build a house and bury them with some possessions to help them on the other side. Some even are buried with their passports and money because they hoped to be able to travel to other parts of the world and the families want to make sure they have their passports. They also believe they can get these possessions to their ancestors by burning them, so there is a large industry of paper objects a person would want to pass on to their ancestors. For example, if you want your ancestor to have a car in the next life you can burn a paper car and the smoke will take it to them; or you can burn money or credit cards and the smoke will take it to them. There are businesses that specialize in making copies of the stuff you want to send your ancestors. I kept seeing guys burning money, but it's fake money. Hopefully, the smoke will take the money to their ancestors in a usable form, maybe that's why they send credit cards now. What if they don't take Visa in the next life?
We passed by lots of rubber trees. These were all replanted after the war here because this area received massive bombing during the war.
Jonny posing with Debbie Galicia in their little hats. No, Jonny didn't wear it for real just for the picture.
This is the entrance to the Cu Chi tunnels. I'm not sure why they built this modern tunnel to get to the area.
The Cu Chi tunnels were built by the Viet Cong where they lived and hid during the war. They started building the tunnels during their war with France before the US came in. They built 250 kilometers of tunnels and living quarters underground during the Vietnam War. Some would live down here for three months at a time in hiding. The US and South Vietnam could never find them. They would come out at night to set traps and would appear like ghosts to fight. These tunnels were very sophisticated with ventilation systems, living quarters, meeting areas, water wells, and tunnels to move miles underground. They would even cook underground using fire and the smoke was released through a series of small outlets in the mornings and would appear as fog to the people outside. In the middle of this picture you see several small squares leading to the surface; these are smoke chambers. They cooked underground and by the time the smoke got to the surface it dissipated into almost nothing.
The tour at Cu Chi tunnels was a little disturbing seeing the things that the Viet Cong did to fight our troops during the war. This is one example of a trap that they would set. You would never know what it was until it was too late because they would hide it so well but the door would swing as you stepped on it and you would land on these sharp bamboo sticks. Very similar to hunting traps but it wasn't animals being hunted here.